FreshDirect vs. Peapod: New York's Online Food Fight

FreshDirect and Peapod face off over the city’s well-heeled stomachs
Statue of Liberty: Rohan Van Twest/Getty Images; Groceries: Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images

Like many New Yorkers, Trish Shortell is a longtime customer of FreshDirect, the city’s No. 1 online grocer. But Shortell, a recruiter for a New York advertising agency and mother of three, has begun to find FreshDirect’s selection lacking and its prices a bit rich, even by New York standards. Cooked wild king crab legs go for $24.99 a pound, and Swiss Gruyère cheese, aged 14 months in Alpine caves, is $19.99 a pound. So lately Shortell has been shifting some purchases to Peapod, a rival online grocer owned by Dutch retailer Ahold. That’s good news for the interloper, which charges $2.79 for a half gallon of Farmland Special Request Skim Plus fat-free milk, $1.50 cheaper than FreshDirect. Boasts Peg Merzbacher, Peapod’s director of marketing: “We have suburban supermarket prices in the city.”

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